By Eustace Mashimbye
I WAS part of a webinar recently entitled, EveryONE EmployONE, which spoke about the importance within the business community of everyone supporting each other, including the communities in which we do business by each creating at least one additional/new job.
It is a concept we have spoken about before in this column and which in essence boils down to the collective impact of individual responses to the current economic crisis. The EveryONE EmployONE is a project launched by ActionCOACH Business Coaching and aims to tackle the scourge of unemployment head-on as individuals where our impact can collectively contribute to the solution to the problem.
We can have the same impact and create a virtuous circle by buying locally grown, produced and manufactured goods and services. Buying local creates jobs here at home. Buying imported goods exports jobs to the country of origin where that item you purchased was made.
Each and every one of us, in our capacities as business owners, employees and also as private consumers has a role to play in growing the economy, and buying local is one way in which we can contribute. Buying local has many benefits. We all have a vested interest in growing the consumption of locally made products and services to ensure that we keep the local manufacturers operational.
The government needs us to support local because companies pay tax. Companies also employ people, who pay tax. The government needs as many economically active citizens and enterprises as possible to participate in the economy, contribute to the fiscus and to relieve the burden of care from the state. Higher tax revenue for the state means more spend on building and improving public amenities and facilities, which in turn improve the lives of South Africans.
The government itself has a role to play, as the single biggest procurer, to ensure it adheres to its local procurement legislation and to extend the number of items they procure locally from those designated for local procurement, to as many other products as possible.
Local businesses need people to purchase from them to remain afloat. In addition, business can support the buy local movement by increasing the number of local suppliers through their company supply chain where each of these local suppliers represents a source of employment and income for potential customers – and business needs economically active customers.
The unions need employed members in order for them to remain relevant. Unions are in a strong position to leverage local procurement with their employers and to hold them accountable for a greater consumption of locally made items and daily consumables, ensuring more people are employed and can join the union movement.
We all know someone who is looking for a job. By purchasing from local companies that in turn buy their raw material inputs from other local businesses we create much needed jobs and break the poverty and unemployment cycles that are impeding our economic growth.
This will in turn make it possible and affordable for companies of all sizes to in turn heed the call of the EveryONE EmployONE movement and each create one new job over the next few months. Imagine the impact of each of these new jobs in households that have been without a breadwinner or hope for so long. In a country with an unemployment rate of 32.5 percent (with the expanded definition of unemployment placing it at 42.6 percent meaning that up to 11.1 million people in South Africa are unemployed), we need to support such a campaign. We can do this by helping local businesses to carry the cost of an additional employee by buying local and creating increased demand of local products and services.
As exclaimed loudly and proudly by Amanda Black, in her song where she features the iconic Anthony Hamilton, Vuka, meaning “wake up” – think and buy local whenever and in whatever capacity you are purchasing – new uniforms for employees, stationery, detergents used in the office, new home appliances, groceries, clothing, shoes, the list of quality, good value locally manufactured goods is growing every day and needs our support to the benefit of us all. Wake up, South Africa and buy local to create jobs.
Eustace Mashimbye is the chief executive of Proudly SA
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites